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Working through post-divorce finances

Discussions regarding property division will most likely come up during a divorce. In addition to separating physical possessions, couples will also probably talk about separating their finances. Since most married couples combine their finances, a divorce can have a significant impact on the financial security of both spouses.

Arranging post-divorce finances is not only about creating new bank accounts and dividing investments or savings. It can also involve planning for each spouse's future. Even though divorcing spouses agree to separate, money may still move between them after the divorce is finalized.

Alimony and child support payments are likely the most common ways in which a couple's finances are still connected after a divorce. For couples with children, decisions regarding child support payments will likely be a significant topic throughout divorce proceedings. Both couples with and without children may also discuss alimony payments.

Alimony payments, also sometimes called spousal support payments, involve one spouse making payments to the other spouse for a certain period of time after the divorce. The payments may be temporary or permanent, depending on the divorce proceedings.

However, for some couples, divorce cuts all ties between spouses. A recent celebrity divorce demonstrates this type of divorce settlement. Actress Zooey Deschanel and singer Ben Gibbard finalized their divorce this past week. The couple has no children, so child support is not an issue. In addition, both spouses reportedly gave up their rights to alimony. Now that their divorce is finalized, their finances are completely separated and they likely will not encounter financial issues together in the future.

So, there are multiple ways in which couples can approach their divorce settlement. Depending on their situation, alimony and child support payments may be essential. Or, as in the case of Deschanel and Gibbard, these financial ties may be completely unnecessary for some couples. Determining what is best for each couple is critical.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Zooey Deschanel divorce: It's final," Christie D'Zurilla, Dec. 18, 2012

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